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Navy S Marine Corps Medical News 


June 23, 2000 

The Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery distributes Navy and 
Marine Corps Medical News (MEDNEWS) to Sailors and Marines, 
their families, civilian employees and retired Navy and Marine 
Corps families. 

MEDNEWS is a weekly compendium of news and information 
contributed by commands throughout the Navy Medical 
department. Information contained in MEDNEWS stories is not 
necessarily endorsed by BUMED, nor should it be considered 
official Navy policy. 

To achieve maximum medical information distribution, your 
command is highly encouraged to distribute MEDNEWS to ALL 
HANDS electronically, include MEDNEWS in command newspapers , 
newsletters and radio and TV news programs. 

Stories in MEDNEWS use these abbreviations after a Navy 
medical professional' s name to show affiliation: MC - Medical 
Corps (physician) ; DC - Dental Corps; NC - Nurse Corps; MSC - 
Medical Service Corps (clinicians, researchers and 
administrative managers) . Hospital Corpsmen (HM) and Dental 
Technician (DT) designators are placed in front of their 


Contents for this week's MEDNEWS: 

Headline: U. S. military medical teams conduct rotations through East 

Headline : President nominates new Navy Medicine Admirals 
Headline : RIMPAC 2000 putting medical technology to practice 
Headline: New hospital inspection process takes less time 
Headline: TRICARE question and answer 

Headline: Navy medical team keeps Blue Angels healthy 
Headline: Anthrax question and answer 

Headline: Healthwatch: Website offers a way out of depression 


Headline: U. S. military medical teams conduct rotations 
through East Timor 

By Captain Denise Shorb, United States Support Group East 

DILI, East Timor - A preventive medicine team from Naval 
Base Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, began teaching classes in water 
sanitation and food safety procedures to local restaurateurs 
here June 12. 

The team will also teach classes in infection control to 
healthcare workers, and a "Healthy Children Keep Everyone 
Healthy" course to teachers and students at a local school, 
throughout the month of June. 

According to HM3 Oliver Bascon, a preventive medicine 
technician, the courses teach a variety of important 
techniques for improving personal hygiene and promoting 
disease prevention. 

"We're teaching the restaurant owners and cooks the proper 
temperature at which to cook food, as well as proper 
refrigeration techniques, " said Bascon. "And, by teaching 
correct water sanitation procedures, we hope to decrease the 
spread of waterborne diseases." 

The head of the team, Lt . Mike Kubler, said the 
significance of the healthy children course is how it is 
designed to teach not only the teachers, but the children as 
well, about general hygiene, how diseases are transmitted, and 
mosquito control . 

"Starting with the children helps to build a strong 
foundation for teaching others, " he said. "By teaching the 
children, the learned attitudes can be passed along to the 
entire family. " 

Demonstrations and hands-on activities will aid in the 
learning process . Instructions translated into Tetun, the 
local language, will also be provided to all participants in 
these classes. 

Since March, U.S. military dental teams and veterinarians 
have visited Dili, carrying out the medical mission of the 
United States Support Group, East Timor. A U.S. Air Force 
biochemical engineer also arrives this week, to test the local 
water supply. 

Throughout June and July, another dental team, an 

team and an ophthamologist will visit to provide oral and eye 

The optometry team will bring in an "eyeglass factory" to 
make eyeglasses. According to Lt . Loren Locke, the USGET 
medical planner, there are no optometrists or ophthamologists 
in East Timor, and therefore vision correction has been nearly 
impossible . 

"During the unrest, virtually everyone who had glasses had 
them taken away, and broken," said Locke. "Anyone who wears 
glasses knows that being without them is an unbearable 
hardship. Being able to provide glasses will not only improve 
individual morale, but community morale as well . " 

The U. S. military has been an active participant in the 
rebuilding of East Timor. Several U.S. military units have 
rotated through Dili, rebuilding schools and churches, 
repairing water towers, and building desks and chairs. 


Headline : President nominates new Navy Medicine Admirals 

WASHINGTON - Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen 

announced Tuesday that the President has nominated four Navy 
officers for promotion to rear admiral (lower half) . 

Congratulations to Clinton E Adams, Commanding Officer, 
Naval Hospital, Naples, Italy; Steven E. Hart, Assistant 
Chief, Operational Medicine And Fleet Support, Bureau of 
Medicine and Surgery, Washington, D.C. and John M. Mateczun, 
Commanding Officer, Naval Hospital, Charleston, S.C., of the 
Medical Corps and Dennis D. Woofter, Commanding Officer, Naval 
Dental Center Southwest, San Diego, Calif . , of the Dental 


Headline : RIMPAC 2000 putting medical technology to practice, 
saving lives 

From the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery 

WAIMEA, Hawaii - For the first time in its 30-year history 
the multi-national maritime exercise Rim of the Pacific 
(RIMPAC) 2000 included a realistic humanitarian assistance 
exercise called "Strong Angel . " 

The scenario conducted June 10-15 on the north central 
section of Hawaii set up an environment featuring a refugee 
camp constructed in response to a simulated humanitarian 
disaster in an effort to uncover new ways to better respond to 
real-world disaster situations . 

"We need to get better at humanitarian actions because in 
today's world amphibious assaults only partially reflect what 
the Navy now has to do," said 3rd Fleet Surgeon Lt. Cmdr . Eric 
Rasmussen . 

Invited to the exercise was a host of non-military 
organizations such as the United Nations, the World Food 
Organization, the Red Cross and several civilian medical 
research teams. 

An integral part of Strong Angel was testing new 

technologies and communications systems designed to meet needs 
created by past disasters . 

During the exercise several communications links were 
established using ham radio bands and the Internet . A 
commercial satellite video and voice link was used for 
telemedicine consultations with doctors and other experts 
through a communication hub at East Carolina University in 
Greenville, N. C. The satellite also allowed six countries to 
hold videoconferences with the "refugee camp. " 

Also tested was a space-age bionic glove that used special 
biosensors that allowed a corpsman or a medic in the field to 
lay a hand on a patient and instantaneously gather vital 
statistics, such as blood pressure, pulse, oxygen level in the 
blood, temperature and electrocardiogram. That information was 
recorded on a computer then transmitted via the Internet using 
a web browser. 

Another medical innovation that was evaluated allowed a 
doctor through a videoconference call to conduct a medical 
examination on a patient at a remote site while the medic wore 

a special headset that contained a video camera, allowing the 
doctor and the medic to see the same thing simultaneously . 

Officials will take many of the lessons learned from 

Angel and use them when aboard deployed Naval Hospital ships. 


Headline: New hospital inspection process takes less time 
By Earl W. Hicks, Bureau of Medicine and Surgery 

Lt . Cmdr. Mark Albrecht, MSC, contributed to this story. 

WASHINGTON - Navy Medicine improved its facilities quality 
review process April 12 by establishing a dual inspection 
process with the Joint Commission on the Accreditation of 
Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) . 

Both the Medical Inspector General ' s office of the Bureau 
of Medicine and Surgery and JCAHO have historically evaluated 
similar areas during their separate inspections of Navy 
medical facilities. To become more efficient in their 
inspections , the organizations have formed a partnership that 
will cut back on this redundancy and allow the inspection 
teams, as well as the naval medical facilities themselves, to 
operate more productively . 

"We now perform a joint inspection that eliminates 
redundant activities and minimizes disruption to our commands 
in preparation and inspection activities, " said Rear Adm. J. 
Philip VanLandingham, MSC, Navy medical inspector general . 
"We are sending fewer people for a shorter duration and 
working hand-in-hand with the JCAHO surveyors to help them 
understand the intricacies of Navy Medicine . " 

One of the guiding principles of Navy Medicine is to use 
best business practices for providing healthcare and operating 
medical facilities. Best practices include knowing when to 
adjust facility inspections. 

"This is also in keeping with the Chief of Naval 
Operations' initiative to reduce administrative burdens and 
excess inspections on our commands, " said Vice Adm. Richard A. 
Nelson, Navy Surgeon General . 

The new process will be a time-saving adjustment for the 
medical facilities. 

"We think the change is wonderful, " said Capt. Gregg 
Parker, MC, commanding officer of Naval Hospital Bremerton, 
Wash. This merger will reduce the amount of redundant 
preparation for inspections. We are delighted the Medical 
Inspector General is using the Malcolm Baldrige criteria for 
the process. We also use those criteria and look forward to 
the inspector general visit as an opportunity to learn and 
grow as a command. " 


Headline: TRICARE question and answer 

Question: My PCM refuses to provide a referral for services I 
believe I need. What do I do? 

Answer: The TRICARE Prime program has provisions for second 
opinions. If you feel that the diagnosis or treatment plan may 
not be correct, you can request that your Primary Care Manager 
refer you out for a second opinion. Additionally, if you are 
dissatisfied with your Primary Care Manager (PCM) , you can 
request assignment to another PCM. If you are still not 
satisfied, you can file a complaint or grievance regarding the 
non-availability of service decision to the MTF Commander or 
Regional Lead Agent. Finally, you have the option of using 
the Point-of -Service option under Prime. A retroactive 
reimbursement may be an option through a successful appeal 
process . 


Headline: Navy medical team keeps Blue Angels healthy 
By Rod Duren, Naval Hospital Pensacola 

PENSACOLA, Fla. - They are a medical team working with one 
of the most popular flight teams in the Navy, yet these health 
care providers can be found turning a wrench or checking a 
hydraulic line as well as dispensing pills or taking a 
temperature . 

They are the doctor and hospital corpsmen assigned to the 
Blue Angels flight demonstration team. Their medical practice 
is different than other medical commands. 

"Because they scream across the sky at supersonic speeds, 
seemingly scraping the paint off each others aircraft, we must 
keep them as healthy as we can all the time, " said Flight 
Surgeon It. Cmdr . Pat McMahon, MC, who goes where the Blues go 
during the 9-month show season. 

McMahon is joined by one of two hospital corpsmen on the 
road with the Blues show. Either Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class 
Corey Coldiron or Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Jack Blaine, 
both specialists in aerospace medicine, travel with the team 
while the other remains at Pensacola to care for Blue Angels 
staff that don't travel. 

One of the lessons he learned in Flight Surgeon Training 


the Naval Operational Medicine Institute in Pensacola was to 
try and know the aviators from a psychological standpoint. 
But the bottom line is to "be a friend too, " he insists, 
"because some people are reluctant to come to a doctor (for 
help), but they will come to a friend." 

So, what does a corpsman know about maintaining finely- 
honed jets that thrill millions of people around the world? 

"We don't actually do maintenance ... we assist, " Coldiron 
said. Occasionally they assist the crew by passing a wrench 
or wiping the plane's windshield, among other small tasks. 

But often enough, the hospital corpsmen ply their trade in 
a narrow, one-room medical facility inside hangar 1852 on the 
west-end of Naval Air Station Pensacola at Sherman Field. 
From their "Branch Medical Clinic Blue Angels" they keep show 
pilots and Marine Corps C-130 Hercules pilots and all support 

staff healthy. 

They perform annual physical examinations and care for the 
sick and injured. They also act as liaison for any dental or 
advanced medical care, review and update records and assist 
McMahon with minor surgery. 

They are also responsible for keeping personnel medical 
readiness up-to-date, treating sick or injured staff and 
performing emergency medical procedures as needed. 

"The pilots are the stars, " said Coldiron . "We just make 
sure the pilots and (maintenance) crew are well, and that they 
can perform their mission." 

But whether you are a pilot, aircrew or member of the 
ground crew - or the medical team, being a part of the Blue 
Angels is not a matter of being assigned - its earned. 

"It is a great feeling to represent Navy Medicine as part 
of an aviation team known around the world, " said McMahon. 
"We have a tremendous responsibility to see that these 
aircrews and support personnel stay healthy. The hospital 
corpsmen and I are proud to do that . " 


Headline: Anthrax question and answer 

Question: Is there any risk of cancer or mutagenesis (genetic 
mutations) ? 

Answer: In nearly 30 years of use, there is no evidence that 
the anthrax vaccine causes cancer or mutagenesis. As with 
most other vaccines or other pharmaceuticals , studies 
regarding carcinogenesis or mutagenesis have not been 
performed with anthrax vaccine. Such studies have not been 
performed, in large part, because in over 200 years of 
administering vaccines to humans, no vaccine has ever been 
shown to cause cancer or genetic mutations. 


Headline: Healthwatch: Website offers a way out of depression 
From TRICARE Central Region 

PHOENIX, Ariz. - Although nearly 80 percent of people with 
clinical depression can be treated successfully with 
medications, psychotherapy or a combination of the two, 
current evidence indicates that nearly two thirds of those 
afflicted do not seek help. The reasons range from an 
individual 's failure to recognize that he or she has a 
serious, potentially dangerous condition to a fear of the 
continuing social stigma connected with mental illness. 

In light of this, an online mental health and depression 
outreach program is the latest addition to Central 
Region/Central Source, the TRICARE Central Region web site. 
The Magellan Behavioral Health division of Magellan Health 
Services, Inc. , a subcontractor to TriWest Healthcare Alliance 
for mental health and substance abuse services in the TRICARE 
Central Region, administers this specific feature of the web 

Serious depression is an important public health problem 
affecting more than 19 million adults in the United States. In 
its various forms, clinical depression can disrupt sleeping, 
eating, school and work activities, the ability of mothers to 
care for their children, and can even lead to suicide. It is 
estimated that 10-15 percent of all new mothers, five percent 
of all children and adolescents , and as many as three percent 
of people over 65 years of age suffer from serious depression. 

"For this reason the Mental Health/Depression Outreach 
feature on the TRICARE Central Region web site is a timely and 
valuable tool for individuals who may be reluctant or 
embarrassed to seek help until they learn more about their own 
problem or that of a loved one, " said Dave Mclntyre, president 
and chief executive officer of TriWest Healthcare Alliance . 

When the TRICARE Central Region site is accessed at or , 
the Magellan site may be reached by looking under the TRICARE 
Program heading and clicking on the button marked "Mental 
Health/ Depression Outreach. " 

From that point the pages provide beneficiaries with an 
overview of clinical depression, its effects and treatment. It 
also offers links that will enable them to assess their own 
conditions, learn more about the symptoms, dangers and about 
available treatment options and the ways to get care. 

Among other easily accessed pages are those titled 
"Postpartum Depression, " 

"The Depressed Child, " "Let's Talk About Depression" (for 
adolescents) , and 

"Help for Seniors. " All offer ways to recognize and provide 
lists of symptoms and ways to obtain help. 

The site also offers various ways to contact TRICARE 
Central Region professionals . All information obtained by 
these professionals is confidential , and this mental 
health/depression outreach module will be a good tool for 
people who may be uncomfortable about seeking help face to 
face . 

Central Region/Central Source is the result of a unique 
partnering initiative between the TRICARE Central Region Lead 
Agent Office and TriWest . The Magellan pages are the latest 
addition to this integrated web site, which offers 
comprehensive TRICARE and health care related information to 
all TRICARE Central Region constituencies , while allowing both 
organizations to continue to manage their own content . 


Comments about and ideas for MEDNEWS are welcome . Story 
submissions are encouraged. Contact MEDNEWS editor, at email:; Telephone 202/762-3218, (DSN) 762- 
3218, or fax 202/762-3224.